“Half a Million People Died” Isn’t a Good Argument & Here’s Why

The Case Against Lockdowns and Mask Mandates

Devin Cornacchio
4 min readMar 5, 2021


Source: Statista

It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been twelve months since I penned my first response to a pandemic that’s somehow still the talk of the town.

(Ironically, President Biden during his first week in office signed a memorandum that effectively banned the use of the phrase “Chinese Virus” and the likes via executive order, a privilege he utilized more than every POTUS since Truman during their first month.)

But now that the highest-paid man in the entire United States government has taken a firm stance on discouraging people from living their lives like normal — regardless of whether or not they’ve achieved what was the government’s (pen)ultimate goal for its citizens through all of this: getting vaccinated — I feel that now is most appropriate to share some observations I’ve made the past year that have increased my blood pressure.

Among these are countless anecdotes of smug lockdown proponents quick to dismiss sound cases against the practice by using the latest widely-accepted number supposedly attributed to the coronavirus death toll — toward which many have expressed reasonable doubt, considering the innumerable factors necessarily including obesity — that often swiftly denies dissenters the opportunity to even begin to present their take.

The notion of opponents of lockdowns being vastly anti-science is quite the fallacious hasty generalization. The academic literature against them undoubtedly exists, but its lack of accessibility is only exacerbated by Big Tech’s purposeful censorship of almost any inkling of skepticism by the scientific community.

Indeed, one can still subscribe to the platitudinous “follow the science” mantra even if it comes from the scientists with whom some do not agree.

Anyway, I only express this exasperation because the rhetoric behind what behavior is and is not permissible (even upon inoculation) is currently generating the worst possible outcome, wherein large batches of Americans — culturally unaccustomed to being told what to do by the government, relatively speaking — refuse to get the vaccine and subsequently return to public life immediately upon observing noticeable decreases in case numbers.

But of course, it’s much easier for the university student living rent-free in his/her parents’ basement to tell business owners to shut down than those who spent decades building that exact livelihood.

Many predicted last year that the pandemic’s dastardly effects on the economy would arguably take more of a toll on us than the virus itself. In fact, most today consider repairing our tarnished economy to be an even higher priority than mitigating the virus this year. The long-term recessional ramifications have since been observed and further projected to far exceed the gravity of those immediately related to COVID-19 by jeopardizing population health over the course of the coming decades.

As the pandemic reached a second peak during the holidays, so did the fatalities by opioid overdoses in San Francisco which tripled that of COVID-19 in the same area. This is another inevitable consequence as Americans have noticeably been turning to drugs and alcohol to cope under lockdown while addiction treatment facilities are struggling to drastically modify their operations.

This behavioral trend isn’t unique to the United States, either.

Previously I’d cited Sweden’s model as the gold standard to follow, but I suppose nowadays a better example would be Florida, where coronavirus deaths per capita sit comfortably in the second quartile among the United States despite their notorious elderly population density. Moreover, the states that do not require masks to be worn in public settings are completely scattered throughout the same rankings, implying that there is virtually no correlation between the mandate policy and per capita deaths by coronavirus.

DeSantis’ fortitude juxtaposed to Governor Cuomo’s (conceded) egregious mishandling of our most vulnerable demographic makes for a rather convincing argument that leadership plays a far more significant role than curfews.

I make these seemingly unpopular propositions not with the intention of offending those who are at the highest risk; many of those closest to me fit that bill by nature of their being immunocompromised, and/or simply old. I encourage them to take the necessary precautions to minimize their risk of contracting the virus on their own volition.

However, we all live our everyday lives properly assessing our decisions’ respective risks at every turn; we’ve evolved to do exactly that. Thusly, I stand principled by the notion that the aforementioned decisions should ultimately be up to us — not the government.

I would even go so far as to suggest that more Americans prefer freedom to safety than people realize; we’re familiar with a few places in East Asia that’ve sacrificed much of the former in the guise of the latter.